In August 2019 Marlis Travel for the first time in 27 years of the history of this agency organized an absolutely unique and exclusive tour to the remote parts of Siberia and Far East.
We are happy to continue the presentation of some of the most interesting and exciting moments of this trip. The first part of this story you can read here.
The second part of our story is dedicated to Magadan.
Magadan is the administrative center of the Magadan region, the youngest regional center of the Far East. It is located on the coast in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk on the isthmus connecting the Staritsky Peninsula with the mainland, and that is why the city of Magadan is situated literally at the “end of the world”. It is an important trade and transport center, the largest commercial seaport.
The history of Magadan founding is connected with the Gold Rush in Alaska at the end of the 19th century. In the 20s of the 20th century, the leadership of the USSR became interested in the Chukotka region because of the huge gold deposits in its bowels. For the development of the gold mining industry, the village of Magadan was founded here, which expanded due to the arrival of geologists, engineers, and subsequently grew into a big city due to the arrival of political and criminal prisoners sent here by the Gulag.
Chukotka and Kolyma mastered at a stunning pace. Exploration and development of gold deposits, laying in the taiga of the thousand-kilometer Kolyma tract, the construction of Magadan, mines and camps went on simultaneously, despite the most difficult climatic conditions, lack of equipment and transport inaccessibility of these places.
Bone Road or Kolyma Tract
This is the infamous abandoned track leading from Magadan to Yakutsk. The road began to be built in 1932. In connection with the development of the mining industry in the 1920s, in Yakutia and Kolyma, the Soviet state began to create a network of local roads using the labor of prisoners of Gulag. Gulag prisoners punched a path through the impregnable mountains of the Sette Dabaan, Suntar-Khayat ranges … During the years of repression, about 800 thousand Soviet prisoners passed along the Kolyma tract. Half of them remained there. Local old-timers remember how icy corpses lay along the road. From overwhelming slave labor, cold and hunger, prisoners died en masse. They were not buried – there was no strength for this, they were laid right under the roadbed and they served as a natural sealant for the soil coating of the tract. For this reason, the tract was called the “road on the bones.”
Mask of sorrow
Among the many monuments, there are two landmarks in Magadan that are of all-Russian fame: The Mask of Sorrow and Time. In memory of the victims of mass repressions who ruined their lives in forced labor, the monument “Mask of Sorrow” was erected in the city of Magadan on the slope of the Krutoy hill. The official opening took place on June 12, 1996. Funds for the creation and installation of the sculpture were donated by the President of Russia B. Yeltsin, and the government, and the Magadan city administration. The initiator and author of the project was the famous Russian sculptor Ernst Neizvestny. His parents were among the first victims of the mass repression of the 1930s. The sculpture is made of roughly turned concrete in the shape of a face. It reaches a height of 15 meters, and the pedestal is laid with granite boulders.
Mammoth Statue “Time”
In 2013 was opened the monument “Time” in Magadan, a mammoth made of metal structures. The remains of mammoths are characteristic not only of the Magadan region, but it was in this region in the 1980s that they found the perfectly preserved corpse of a mammoth, which was given the name Dima. The main idea of the monument is time, its movement forward, a certain connection between the past and the future. The author interprets his work as follows: “Mammoths on our northern land lived several million years ago, when they became extinct, a man came to the northern land and began to build mines, which also ceased to function over time.” Thus, sculpture is the personification of the past, and all the details of which it is made symbolize our time. The monument is not protected by any coatings and rusts over time in the salty sea wind, acquiring a reddish-brown color, which this ancestor of modern elephants had.
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is the coldest sea of the Pacific Ocean. The unique nature of the cold coast of Magadan leaves no one indifferent. In terms of fish stocks, this sea occupies a leading position in the diversity of fish species (more than 300 species). Commercial fish include more than 25 species. Salmon, herring, cod, pollock, flounder, sea bass are caught here. A valuable species is the salmon family. They winter in the Pacific Ocean, spawn in the rivers of Kamchatka and Sakhalin. You can have a great time here for amateur fishing. Fishing is a pleasure and pleasantly surprises with a variety of different types of fish. A large number of flounder, cod, herring, chum salmon, ruff, which are designed for fishing, both from boats and from the shore.